3 Steps to Romance for Your Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

Planning a romantic date at home with your sweetheart?

Don’t sweat the details! Keep it cozy and fun with these 3 steps.

Get comfortable
Why not sit on the floor? Arrange fluffy pillows and blankets around a coffee table positioned in front of the fireplace. Not only is this casual setting more fun, it’s also more conducive to conversation. Amy Stewart, a sex and relationship therapist in Chicago, says, “Many men aren’t comfortable with face-to-face interaction. If you plan to talk about the relationship or your emotions, sitting side-by-side creates a more relaxed environment.”

Share small plates
A wide variety of menu options means sharing tastes together. Chose old favorites, or if your mate has an adventurous palate, go on a culinary exploration. North Shore-based prop stylist Hilary Ashlund loves ordering Asian takeout and replating the items on chic white dishes. “It’s such an easy way to entertain,” she says.

Keep the decor sexy but casual
A dozen red roses in a tall vase might be classic, but it’s also a tad cliché and overpowering. Consider a more modern arrangement of tightly clustered florals, trimmed to a few inches, and displayed in low containers. For fabrics, go bold with pinks and oranges, and don’t be afraid to mix and match dish patterns and textures—this tablescape at Flourish in Wilmette is a good example.

Ashlund recommends lighting your space with battery-operated candles. “You can put them in places that aren’t safe for real candles, such as behind shear curtains.” They can also be turned on ahead of time, should you wish to have things ready the minute your partner walks in the door.

If you decide to use traditional candles, avoid scented varieties, and let the smells of the food (and perhaps a subtle dab of your signature perfume) prevail in the room.

Above all, don’t do anything that makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable, and don’t try to recreate a scene that just isn’t you. Stewart points out that men take their cues from women. She says, “If you’re happy, chances are he will be, too. Keeping things natural and comfortable creates an authentic sense of intimacy instead of a manufactured one.”